Ralph Tenaglia
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Ralph Tenaglia

Pinckney - It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of Ralph "Ralphie" Joseph Tenaglia, a loving father, papa, husband, uncle, brother, and friend to many.

Born on Christmas Day, and passed on Easter Sunday, Ralph was a man of faith - surrounded by Christ his entire life. On December 25th, 1939, Ralph was born to Carmine and Lucia (Lucy) Tenaglia in Detroit, Michigan. He was proud of the first-generation Italian home he grew up in and he adored his three older brothers, John, Anthony (Tony), and Joseph (Joe). Ralph graduated from St. Anthony high school in 1957. He attended elementary and high school reunions until 2019. He loved his 30+ year tradition of weekly Monday-night "board meetings" at Cleary's with his friends. No one was a stranger to Ralph; he fostered life-long friendships.

A self-proclaimed "ceramic engineer," he was a successful entrepreneur and skilled craftsman in the tile industry. Described as a "mover and a shaker," Ralph was the visionary founder of T.A.G.S sports complex in Hartland, MI; owner of numerous construction companies; proprietor and purveyor of fine foods while owner of Fowlerville's Big Boy. Ralph was a three-time retiree (and four-time back-to-worker) in the tile industry. His illustrious career laying tile began in his early childhood years with his father and his brother, Joe. During his 60+ years in the industry, Ralph founded Fairway Tile Company. Ralph laid the first piece of tile at Detroit's Delta terminal and tied the terrazzo concourse together at the North Terminal during his tenure as project manager for Artisan Tile Inc. In his later years he proudly served as Artisan Tile's favorite fill in delivery boy and always the social planner. A leader and mentor in the trade, Ralph was loved by all and dearly cherished the relationships he made on jobsites and industry events. He was often found bringing people together over a Miller Lite - and could convince anyone to have "just one more."

Ralph possessed an abundance of social gifts. He was exceptionally charming, extraordinarily positive, spectacularly handsome, and had a fun and youthful spirit. He lived his life with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He made everyone feel important. Family meant everything to Ralph. He treasured his relationship with his four daughters from his marriage to Alberta Falter. He was a patient and loving father who encouraged and believed his daughters could do anything. Ralph was a loving husband to his dear wife Patricia (Sayers) whom he met in 1995 and married in 2002, in an intimate wedding in Traverse City. They built a life together in Pinckney, Michigan. Ralph was a fun-loving, trouble-making papa and uncle who adored his grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He recently told one of his grandchildren that the only regret he had in life was not paying more attention in accounting class.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia (Sayers); children, Dr. Christine Tenaglia, Laura (Jeff) Lauinger, Jennifer (Scott) Panning, and Tennille (Garrett) Sharp; grandchildren, Morgen and Sloan Panning; Ellen, Nicholas and Jack Lauinger; Sophia, Annabelle, Garrett and Viola Sharp; stepsons, Matt Sayers, Ben (Kristin) Sayers; sister-in-law, Betty (Joe) Tenaglia. Many nieces, nephews and cousins. Ralph is reunited in Heaven with his mom and dad, Carmine and Lucy, brothers John, Tony, and Joe along with son-in-law, Garrett Sharp. Ralph will be missed by many.

Visitation will be at MacDonald's Funeral Home, Howell, MI (517-546-2800) on Friday, April 16, 2021 from 2:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. A Funeral Mass of Resurrection will be on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Howell at 10:30 A.M. celebrated by Fr. Gary Koenigsknecht. Friends may visit beginning at 10:00 A.M. at the church on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to St. Joseph Catholic Church Scholarship for Christian Education in memoriam of Ralph Tenaglia. Please visit Ralph's online guest book at www.macdonaldsfuneralhome.com

"We have loved him in life, let us not forget him after death." - St. Ambrose

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Detroit Free Press & The Detroit News from Apr. 9 to Apr. 11, 2021.
02:00 - 06:00 PM
Funeral service
10:30 AM
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
April 16, 2021
My memories of Ralph go way back to the 80's and 90's when we worked in the tile business. He always brought a smile with him where ever he went and was the most charming of all my customers. He brought joy to many and will be truly missed.
Kathy Burke
April 15, 2021
Jamie Massie
April 15, 2021
Heartfelt Condolences Arrangement- BASKET INCLUDED
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Jamie and Wendy Massie
April 10, 2021
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
The Staff of MacDonald's Funeral Home
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